Body of missing four-year-old found near James Smith Cree Nation

Sweetgrass Kennedy is pictured in this photo provided by the police.

Police have discovered the body of Sweetgrass Kennedy, the four-year-old Prince Albert boy who disappeared while playing near the riverbank in May.

According to a press release, Melfort RCMP received a report of human remains discovered along the North Saskatchewan riverbank near James Smith on Saturday, July 14 at 5:05 p.m. Evidence collected at the scene by the RCMP was sent to Saskatoon, where it was examined by a forensic pathologist and a forensic anthropologist. The Office of the Chief Coroner confirmed the identity of the body as that of Sweetgrass Kennedy.

The location Sweetgrass was found is about 40 km east of Prince Albert. Adding in the bends of the river, the location is about 80 km away.

Sweetgrass went missing on May 10. A large search took place, involving hundreds of community volunteers. The volunteer-led search was called off once police determined, through witnesses statements and physical evidence, that the boy had fallen into the river.

From there, the search was continued by professionals, involving police, fire, the city, RCMP, the Prince Albert Grand Council First nations Emergency Management Branch, the Grandmother’s Bay Search Team, the Stanley Mission Search Team, Emergency Management and Fire Safety from the Province of Saskatchewan, Mobile Crisis, Saskatoon Police air support and professional search and rescue teams, such as Prince Albert North Search and Rescue, Buckland Search and Rescue and Saskatoon Region Search and Rescue.

The Saskatoon Police lent the city its dive team for a few days to examine an area near where police suspected Sweetgrass had fallen into the river. While radar identified potential evidence, due to the swiftly-flowing river and murkiness of the water, teams were unable to recover what was seen on the radar screen.

By May 17, the operation was considered a recovery mission.

Teams headed out a few hundred kilometres searching the river for any sign of the boy. Initial efforts were unsuccessful, but crews kept looking.